The Maine Principals’ Association should take a long, hard look at making sure the right calls are made on disputed goals in the hockey playoffs.
Bangor High School had a goal waved off in its 4-3 loss to Waterville in the Eastern Maine Class A semifinals when the two referees, linesman and goal judge ruled Joey Seccareccia’s rebound wrister didn’t find the back of the net.
The concensus on press row was that it was a goal; Seccareccia said it went in the net, hit goalie Nolan MacDonnell’s water bottle and came out and there are parents of Bangor players who claim to have video proof it was a goal.
MacDonnell said he wasn’t in position to see it.
That would have given Bangor a 4-2 lead early in the third period and might well have altered the outcome.
Momentum is such a huge factor in playoff games and that would have certainly swung the momentum to the upset-minded Rams.
Don’t get me wrong.
Waterville was the better team and deserved to win. Bangor turned in an impressive performance and built a 3-0 lead but Waterville rallied thanks to its exceptional team speed and earned the victory.
Hockey is the most difficult sport to officiate because of the speed of the game and how quickly teams can transition from defense to offense.
It’s tough for the referees and linesman to get into position to make a call on a controversial goal. That’s where the goal judge comes in. But even a goal judge’s job can get complicated, especially when there’s a wild scramble and bodies are flying everywhere.
The answer is video replay but that’s probably not going to happen because of the cost involved and the economic hardships these days.
So maybe the MPA should consider having another set of eyes in a different location at each goal for the playoffs. Having someone positioned to the side at the extended goal line or high above each net might be the answer.
Bangor coach Ted Taylor said he has seen three missed calls within the past year including the one in his game.
“I was at the state championship game last year and I was sitting five rows higher than the goal judge when Lewiston took a shot against Biddeford the clearly went over the goal line. I was sitting right there,” said Taylor.
The goal was waved off.
He said he also saw Waterville have a goal incorrectly waved off during a regular-season game against Lewiston this season.
Taylor doesn’t feel it’s necessary to have an extra set of eyes for regular-season games but he is adamant it is needed for the playoffs “because seasons are on the line. It’s do or die.
“To have a game decided [by a missed call on a goal] is tough,” he said.
There will always be questionable calls in all sports but when there is an opportunity to take steps to reduce the likelihood of a bad call, it should be taken.
The University of Maine men’s hockey team will finish eighth and play either Northeastern University or Boston University in the Hockey East quarterfinals in nine days.
The Black Bears match up better against Northeastern.
The Huskies do have goalie Brad Thiessen, my choice for Hockey East Player of the Year, but they aren’t as quick or as explosive as Boston University.
The Huskies, who lead BU by one point, are more physical.
NU won all three games vs. Maine but two were decided by one goal, including an overtime thriller at the Huskies’ Matthews Arena (3-2). It would be an entertaining series.